As of June 18th I have officially been in remission from my leukemia for a full year! I had this in my calendar yesterday, but I still forgot until later in the evening.
It’s easy to forget this milestone when I’m still in active treatment. Nevertheless, I am so grateful that the standard treatment protocols have worked and that I am still in remission. I’m one of the lucky ones who’s leukemia responded fully, and while I feel happy about this it is also a reminder that Luke’s didn’t respond this way. I will make another post someday on survivor’s guilt, because it is such a huge topic in the cancer world, but for today I want to try and remain positive and celebrate my good health!
To be honest I don’t remember much about that day one year ago. I remember Luke had been visiting me in my hospital room so we were watching TV. I remember my doctor coming in and feeling instantly anxious. I love my doctor but I wasn’t expecting any results from my biopsy for another week or so. When he walked in I instantly became anxious assuming that meant treatment hadn’t worked. A lot of cancer patients who have their progress monitored by scans call it “scanxiety”. There’s no fun term for the anxiety around a bone marrow biopsy.
This time my doctor was there to share good news though. The induction chemo had worked and I was not only in remission, but MRD negative. There was no detection of leukemia in my marrow. I was so glad Luke was there to hear it because we both really needed some good news and it felt like a small weight off of our shoulders at the time. A little bit of light in our dark world.
Here I am a year later living a very different life than I ever imagined I would be. I am stuck with the task of making decisions about my life and my future on my own, all while trying to be not just a cancer survivor, but a “thriver”. The road ahead is still long and I know there will be mountains to climb and ravines to cross but I just have to keep on pushing forward the best I can and try to make the best decisions for my future. For a long time I couldn’t think about a future. To be honest I still mostly stay in the present and try not to think past a few weeks at a time. It is overwhelming to try to do so, but every now and then I do let my mind wander to what the future may be like for me in a few months or next year. It is not the future I would have imagine for myself a year or two ago, but I have to take my circumstances and make the best out of them.
So here’s to being cancer free for one year (and a day)! Here’s to modern medicine and science making this possible. Here’s to fighting the fight every damn day and trying to find the good that is still left in the world. Here’s to loving those around you fiercely and accepting the love you are given and never taking it for granted.